Forget the guests, use the nice pillows.

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We’ve all heard the battle cries of carpe diem! Seize the day! Use the nice china. Don’t wait. I have one more to add: forget the guests, use the nice pillows.

We were recently preparing to have a guest at our home and I realized that I had given them the very newest pillows we own. How nice. When I tucked my son in for his nap that afternoon, I glanced at his pillow and found that had been through every storm, sick episode, and was likely older than I was. It was nasty looking. What the? I like to have guests, I’m sure you do, too, but they don’t live in our homes.

With this a-ha moment (light bulb!), I started looking around my house. I have a very large, grand sidewalk lined with boxwood shrubs for our guests, while my family comes through a dirty garage to the most confounding pile of crap in a muddy, muddy mudroom every day. My formal entryway is decorated with a theme for every season, in front of a door my family and closest friends never use. (See exhibit B for February). The spaces my family actually resides in? Tag sale city, sweetheart.

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What’s wrong with this picture? Image, I guess? Without being aware of it, I have cultivated some of the nicest spaces in our home for people that I care the least about. Have any of you done this, too? What is it about appearances that sucks us in? I can blame Pinterest and other social media sites, but it’s more than that. I don’t have to give greater credence to any of those sites than you do.

For me, I ordered new pillows in our house, for my family. I switched up our towels and paid someone to come in paint my mudroom. While finishing designing and decorating my home, I’m going to proceed with my family and our style in mind first from now on. Our real style, not how I wish it was, but how it actually is (storage for sweaty gear, heaps of laundry and all). I’m kind of done with appearances for fictional guests. My extended family members and closest friends recall when I barely washed my clothes and ate ramen noodles. I don’t think giving them the highest thread count in the guest room is going to change their opinion of me. Flattering or not, their memories of me have been cultivated over decades. It comes down to this…my favorite people use the back door. I bet yours do, too. Make it nice for them. More than that, make it nice for you. 

Keep sharing moxie.

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Piss off, Pinterest.

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I’m looking at you Pinterest, Instagram, Fakebook, and Photoshop. You’ve left me feeling a little bit LESS THAN. You’ve taken the concept of Keeping Up With the Joneses (or Kardashians, blech) to a whole new level, squared. No worries though, I’m throwing in the towel. I’ve decided I can’t keep up and am jumping off that train.

I have found my people… Pinterestfail.com “where good intentions come to die” and Celeste Barber, a hilarious Australian comedian that has recreated celebrity selfies. Take a moment and look this stuff up. Crying. Oh my gosh, these are my people.

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Have you started to feel a bit like you’re in 7th grade again looking at all these airbrushed beauties and their carefully cultivated on-line presence? You know it’s not all real, every day can’t be THAT fabulous for others, but somehow you feel left out? I didn’t love 7th grade. Did ANYONE?! And then…I remembered to laugh. I mean really, people. Life is messy, sometimes beautiful, but often funny.

I identify with Bridget Jones. Do you?  That is one Jones that I could run with. I’ve always wanted to be British, am slightly chubby, prone to failure, and we both love Colin Firth. Who doesn’t? My daughter gave me Colin Firth on a stick a few years ago on Mother’s Day. “What would be the best gift, Mom?” Colin Firth on a stick was always my answer. It remains my favorite gift of all time, but I digress.

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I think somewhere we’ve started to lose the ability to laugh at ourselves. We’ve started keeping score with others daily and thinking it’s a real thing. I fail all the time. I’m not ashamed to admit it. I often share my failures with others, because sometimes they’re hilarious. The picture of the stairs at the beginning of this post? Those are my back steps. Piss off, Pinterest. I couldn’t even get the damn window cling idea to work. I mean, really. Failure at window clings? That’s funny.

Last weekend my niece got married. I showed up to decorate her hotel suite with rose petals, battery operated tea lights, and champagne. I got patted down at the door for bringing liquor into the establishment. I had to wait with the security guard until I confirmed that I was the one paying for the room and wasn’t some deranged drunk trying to ruin someone’s wedding night. Oh my stars, was I embarrassed, but how much did my sisters laugh when I told them? Tears.

So today, tomorrow, and next week let’s all work at laughing more and judging less. Let’s try to remember we’re not in 7th grade. I don’t really care what you have as long as you’re nice to others. Piss off, Pinterest. I’ve found my lunch table and we’re absolutely freaking hilarious. Fail on, friends!

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Does it bring you joy?

My three year-old is a big fan of Marie Kondo. Admittedly, so am I. “Does it bring you joy?” was a common refrain in our family this summer. It’s my tween, interestingly enough, that is the greatest tidying up convert in the house. Truth. That alone should have you people rushing out to buy this book.

Confession: I am not a tidy person. I’d like to be, but not for reasons you might expect. The KonMarie method seems deceptively simple. Go through all your things, ask yourself if they bring you joy. If they do, keep them. If they don’t, chuck ’em.

I’ve always wanted to be a little more organized. Who doesn’t?? I don’t really give a fig if things are messy, because I thrive on a bit of uncultivated clutter. The reason I have become a Kondo convert is because the method asks you to hone in on everything that brings you joy.

Man alive, when do we do that? People talk about blessings and how grateful they are, lovely sentiments, but when do you go through the process of categorically deciding what brings you joy? The flip-side is that you begin to be able to articulate what you don’t like, even if it sounds weird.

Here’s what I’ve found… I can’t stand t-shirts with seams, wooden utensils make my teeth itch, and silverware should be heavy and pleasing to touch. I could go on and on. It starts to leak into other parts of your life: people, where you go, how you spend your time. It’s the reason that I recently booked a family vacation instead of paying for more mudroom storage. Screw cupboards, I need some sun.

Clearly I can’t escape on vacation all the time, and not everything I do brings me joy, but we all have the option of surrounding ourselves, to the greatest extent possible, with things and people that brighten our days. I live in Minnesota, nice is our currency. I’m a woman and mother, anything less than nice is bitchy. Revolutions can start in your home though. If you can’t choose what you like and what makes your teeth itch in your own home, where can you be honest?

My library, pictured above, is still casually cluttered, which is exactly what I believe a library should look like. Full, warm, with a ton of books to explore. And that brings me joy indeed (plus delight, pleasure, jubilation, happiness, gladness, glee, exhilaration, exuberance, elation, euphoria, and bliss). What brings YOU joy?

Keep sharing moxie!

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